Rite Of Passage In Shooting An Elephant

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In the short story “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell, a young man experiences a case of influence and peer pressure like none other. An English police officer is placed in a Burmese area and assigned to protect the people there. The people of this town are not fond of the outsider and treat him very poorly. In order for the officer to gain a kind of reassurance from the Burmese people, he must find a way to make them happy. In the story, George Orwell uses imagery and characterization in order to demonstrate how a rite of passage can be forced upon a person in order for that person to obtain their place in society. Within the passage, Orwell uses imagery to enforce the idea that people can be influenced by society to pursue a rite of passage in order to fit in. Throughout the story, a young police officer is forced to …show more content…

As Orwell states, “He was lying on his belly with his arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. His face was coated with mud , the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of unendurable agony….The friction of the great beast’s foot had stripped the skin from his back as neatly as one skins a rabbit.” Orwell’s use of imagery shows just how brutal this elephant is and the type of chaos it is capable of. Unfortunately, this man was most likely an innocent bystander who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Orwell also uses a simile to show just how awful the man’s body condition was. The author compares how cleanly stripped the man’s skin was from his body to the hide skinned off of a rabbit. This again just shows how savagely the man was killed. However, now that the elephant has killed a man, the elephant must be put down. This duty lies upon the sub-divisional police officer. In order to make the people happy and protect those that he has sworn to protect, he must take down the rampaging elephant. The officer eventually

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